warp and woof

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warp and woof (countable and uncountable, plural warps and woofs)

  1. The threads in a woven fabric, composed of the warp (threads running lengthwise) and woof (threads running crosswise) to create the texture of the fabric.
  2. (by extension) The fundamental structure of any process or system.
    • 2001, Ellen Perry Berkeley, Simi Berman, At Grandmother’s Table: Women Write about Food, Life and the Enduring Bond Between Grandmothers and Granddaughters, page 85:
      The warp and woof of our lives, sensible, sensitive, a veritable 911, she was called upon whenever something went wrong.
    • 1907, National Education Association of the United States, Addresses and Proceedings, page 496:
      He unconsciously uses the fitting word and phrase to designate the situation in which he finds himself, thus the fitting word and phrase, the well-chosen modifier and forcible verb become part of the warp and woof of his speech.
    • 1857, Hinton Rowan Helper, The Impending Crisis of the South: How to Meet it, page 406:
      … the “manifest destiny” theory that justifies the stealing of all territory contiguous to our own, and kindred topics, constitute the warp and woof of conversation.